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Every Traveler Should Do These 4 Things in Kazan

Kazan is one of the most popular stops on the Trans-Siberian Railway so, although I didn’t have two weeks available to ride the train, I knew I wanted to visit Kazan. I rode in a bumpy sleeper train for 22 hours from Volgograd to the city of Kazan. Along the way, I met a local...

Russia in WWII and How to Visit Volgograd

“Is it true,” asked my Russian cabin mate on the 22-hour train ride from Volgograd to Kazan, “that Americans believe they won the war?“ I already knew the sad answer. American schools teach our participation in the war and not much about Russia in WWII...

Photography equipment

First-Time Solo Travel: How to Hit the Road Alone with Confidence

“Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for the wind to fly a kite. Or waiting around for Friday night or waiting perhaps for their Uncle Jack or a pot to boil or a better break or a string of pearls or pair of pants or a wig with curls or another chance. Everyone is just waiting...

first time in Moscow

What to See Your First Time in Moscow

My expectations before my first time in Moscow were low. Would it only be Soviet-style buildings and melancholy designs? But, after exiting the Leningradsky Vokzal, the train station with trains to and from Saint Petersburg, Moscow immediately proved me wrong. Moscow is like New York City...

Russia Packing Guide for Studying Abroad in Winter

Packing is difficult for me. It stresses me out. I either put it off until last-minute or pack weeks in advance, leaving me weeks to overthink every single item. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a Russia packing guide.  In preparation for four months in Russia, I packed and...

guide to saint petersburg

Guide to Saint Petersburg for First-Timers

The guide to Saint Petersburg I read before moving to the city did not prepare me for life in this city. Palaces dressed in soft hues with swirling ornaments transported me to a time of royalty. My eye for the Russian Empire’s splendor diminished as I crossed yet another canal via a...